George Will Schools Stephen Colbert on Difference Between News on FNC and ABC

Recent Fox News Channel addition George Will took advantage of being a guest on Comedy Central's weeknight The Colbert Report program on Tuesday to explain to the faux conservative host the difference between news on the “mainstream” ABC network and the cable television Fox News Channel.

“Fox News is like getting on a Southwest Airlines plane,” the columnist stated. “Everyone’s happy, they’re at the top of the heap and feel like insurgents.” “Wow, that’s great,” Colbert replied. “That sounds almost dangerous.” [See video below.]

The host introduced Will as “a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist” whose missives are published in more than 500 newspapers worldwide and who is the author of a new book celebrating the 100th anniversary of Chicago's Wrigley Field entitled A Nice Little Place on the North Side.


Colbert began the interview by saying: “You're a Fox News contributer now. How do you like it over there?”

“I love it,” Will responded.

“What do you like?” Colbert asked. “You were on ABC News for several years. What's the difference between the two news organizations?”

Working at Fox News “is like getting on a Southwest Airlines plane,” Will replied. “Everyone’s happy, they’re at the top of the heap and feel like insurgents.”

“Wow, that’s great,” Colbert replied grimly. “That sounds almost dangerous.”

Will then admitted that he's a lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. “I'm afraid that if I stop” supporting the players or the team, “they'll start winning.”

“The age” of the stadium "is great,” Colbert said. “I love things that are old. I'm a conservative, you're a conservative. I don't anything should ever change. Do you think that Wrigley Field -- ?

“No, that makes you a liberal,” Will interrupted.

“That nothing should ever change?” Colbert asked, obviously surprised at his guest's remark.

“That's right.” the Fox News Channel contributor replied.

Colbert then stated:

I didn't realize that. But conservatives want to conserve things. I hate to go all etymological on you.

I know you're a bit of a wordsmith, but why do liberals want things to stay the same?

“Because whatever exists should continue,” the guest replied, pointing to the 1935 establishment of Social Security as proof of his assertion.

“Do you drive a 1935 car?” Will then asked.

“No, I drive a Tesla.” Colbert said, drawing laughter from the studio audience at the mention of the expensive electronic vehicle.

“I'm sure you do,” Will responded. “Do you watch a 1935 television set?”

“No, in 1935, a television set, I think, was a potato field,” the host stated lamely.

“But Social Security, liberals believe, should go on just as it always has,” Will asserted.

“So we should get rid of Social Security?” Colbert asked, obviously taking an extreme point of view on the subject.

When Will said he didn't think the entire program should be shut down, Colbert again responded in the extreme: “I think we should” end it, he said. “Am I more of a conservative than you are?”

“Yes,” Will replied flatly.

“OK, I was trying to lead you into a field where people would shoot you in the head,” Colbert joked lamely before steering the conversation back to baseball.

The clash between the two well-known television personalities actually began earlier on Tuesday, when Will stated in an interview: “I don’t know very much about The Colbert Report. I’ve been on twice before, and I think those may be the only two times I’ve seen it because if it's not on ESPN or the Major League Baseball Network, I’m not apt to see a television show.”

“But he is very bright,” Will said about the program's host. “He is incorrigibly wrong about campaign finance and the First Amendment and other things. But because he is bright, he is educable.”

As NewsBusters previously reported, CBS recently announced that one liberal comic -- Colbert -- will take over for another liberal comedian -- David Letterman -- when the longtime late-night host retires sometime in 2015.

A few days after the announcement was made, Bill O'Reilly, host of The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel, accused Colbert of spending his career “pleasing the left” so conservatives won't watch the late-night show when he becomes its host.

Judging from his awkward interview of George Will, Colbert will need to make some serious changes to his comical repertoire if he's going to appeal to television viewers across the political spectrum. Can he shed his faux conservative persona before replacing Letterman? We'll find out sometime next year.

Randy Hall
Randy Hall